Parish of St. Monica and St. James  
Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
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Holy Saturday

At 10:00 a.m., we have a very simple service which is much like a burial office.  There is no celebration of the Holy Eucharist on this day.


The Great Vigil of Easter


At 8:00 p.m., we gather in the Upper Parish Hall and bless new fire.  We then bless the Paschal candle, the symbol of the presence of the Risen Christ among his people, and light hand candles from the Paschal candle.  By the light of the candle, we are led into the church – the light of Christ leading his people into the new creation.  Once we arrive in the church, the “Exultet” is sung.  This is the oldest recognizable Christian melody and text.  Then follows the reading of the prophecies, which recount the history of the relationship of God and his people and its development.  Then we bless the font, renew our Baptismal covenant, and are sprinkled with the water of Baptism to remind us that we are grafted into the risen body of Christ and participate in his continuing ministry.  We then sing the litany of the saints to remind us of the multitudes of those who share with us the water of baptism and who have in some way advanced the purpose of God’s kingdom.  We then sing “Gloria in Excelsis Deo!”  We ring bells of all kinds (remember to bring bells) and commence the first Mass of Easter!  We then receive the Holy Communion, the pledge of the love of God and of our participation in the risen life of Christ.

This is but a description – you must be present and participate to have the experience.


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